Asia embraces new sports to beckon Tokyo Olympic Games

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Jakarta : As the clock goes tick tock for the Tokyo Olympics at the conclusion of the Asian Games here on Sunday, the focus has shifted to the the five sports which will debut at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Apart from surfing which is also included in 2020, the four new Olympic sports of baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding have been fanfaring well in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and Palembang, the capital city of south Sumatra Province, as more and more young audience are embracing them in the sports world, reports Xinhua news agency.

Besides, three-on-three basketball, to be a new event in Tokyo, just made its debut in the Asiad, attracting the hearts of the young people into the showcase stage of the biggest Asian continental sports gala.

And the Jakarta Asiad has testified to the fact that the host countries of either Asiad or Olympics can surely boost their ratings, attract more sponsors, and enrich the lives of the young generation by introducing these sports into the world sports arena.

"3X3 is now quite popular in China. I believe that our victory here will attract more and more people into the new Olympic event," said Huang Wenwei, the winning member of the Chinese men's 3x3 basketball team.

The 3x3 basketball has been generating fresh vitality into the ancient Olympic sport as it runs faster with much more bursts of blitz attacks, allowing only 12 seconds to complete each attack instead of the traditional 24-second rule, changing smoothly from defense to offense during the whole 10-minute competition with only one 30-second timeout for each side.

Many players even put it as nothing short of a 10-minute anaerobic devil confrontation.

Furthermore, the lighting settings at the venue are even more fascinating with pop music being played, and the DJ interacting with audiences all the time, making it a vogue for the young people.

The Jakarta Asiad also witnessed another debutant of sport climbing, a combination of strength, endurance and flexibility. It requires accurate calculation to decide every movement in the wall climbing as a simple error could evolve into a fall.

"Climbing represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games, it brings the missing vertical dimension to the world's most prestigious sporting event," said Nick Colton, deputy chief officer at the British Mountaineering Council.

For baseball and softball, Asiad has become the springboard to jump into the Olympic arena as baseball was included in the Hiroshima Asian Games 1994, and softball made it into the Beijing Asian Games 1990.

Softball is a modified form of baseball with seven innings instead of nine, as well as underarm bowling. And both sports are very popular in Japan, which will host the 2020 Olympic Games.

"Olympic baseball and softball in Japan would be the biggest and most exciting international competition in the history of our sport, and would help the Olympic Games touch the entire host nation and worldwide community," said World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) president Riccardo Fraccari.

As the sport returns to the Olympic program in 2020 Tokyo, ace Yukiko Ueno and Japan asserted their authority by winning their fifth straight Asiad title with a 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei.

"The Asian Games has increasingly become a place to show the strength of Japanese softball," said Ueno, a four-time Asiad athlete, "we have had easier games this time by being able to score lots of runs."

And karate will also become the sport from which Japan hopes to reap more during the 2020 Tokyo Games, after it had its Asiad debut in Hiroshima 1994. In Jakarta, Japan took four golds in the men's and women's kata and kumite events.

Introduction of new sports into the Olympic Games is a trend to meet the needs of the young generation, and the Asiad has become the whetstone for Asian athletes to better their skills.